US suspends aid to Syrian rebels over Al Qaeda ties news
12 December 2013

The Obama administration is in the process of withdrawing aid to rebels in northern Syria as concerns increase over it ending up in the hands of Al Qaeda-tied militants, Fox News reported.

The White House confirmed today that the US had suspended delivery of non-lethal assistance to rebels in the north, with the UK reportedly following suit, according to the report, with inputs from AP.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest cited concerns regarding reports of Islamist fighters seizing buildings belonging to Syria's Supreme Military Council.

He stressed that the administration's policy was to support "elements of the opposition that are moderate, that are committed to respecting basic human rights."

The confirmation comes following a US Embassy official in Turkey revealing earlier that the US was cutting off such supplies as night vision goggles and communication equipment after ultraconservative opposition factions gained control of bases from the main western-backed group on Friday.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the move seems to be the latest blow to the western-backed Free Syrian Army, which had been overshadowed on the battlefield by hard-line Islamist insurgents, which included several groups linked to Al Qaeda.

According to LA Times, the US strategy in Syria had focused  on extending support to the so-called moderate elements in the armed opposition that were fighting to oust the government of president Bashar Assad.

However, reports from inside Syria pointed to Al Qaeda groups and other militant Islamist militias, some supported by Saudi Arabia, a close US ally gaining ascendency in the deeply fractured opposition ranks.

The growing clout of hard-line Sunni Islamist militias had led to serious concerns in Washington as regards the direction of US policy in Syria, which was embroiled in the third year of an escalating conflict that had increased instability and tension throughout the Middle East.

A number of rebel militias had been pushing a blatantly sectarian and non-democratic agenda for the nation's future.

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US suspends aid to Syrian rebels over Al Qaeda ties